Ohio Hanging On To ‘Sloopy’

Led Zeppelin has “Stairway To Heaven,” Lynyrd Skynyrd has “Free Bird” and marching bands in Ohio have “Hang On Sloopy.” Now lawmakers want to make the 1960s hit by The McCoys the Buckeye State’s official song.

A favorite among many high school and college marching bands, the song by Wes Farrell and Bert Russell was first recorded by The Vibrations in 1964 but it wasn’t until Midwest pop group The McCoys, featuring a very young and Ohio-born Rick Derringer on guitar and vocals, released their own version in 1965 that “Sloopy” became a No. 1 hit.

The Ohio legislature recognized “Hang On Sloopy” as Ohio’s official rock song during the 1980s.  However, that action didn’t add the song to the Ohio Revised Code.  If “Sloopy” gets the nod from both houses, the song’s lyrics will be added to the Code, according to the Ohio Capital Blog writer Marc Kovac via the Crescent-News.

The blogger points out that “Sloopy” has become somewhat of an anthem for Ohio State University’s football team and that fans usually shout “O.H.I.O.” during the chorus.  The Associated Press notes that the first time the university’s marching band played the song was in 1965.

So far the Ohio House is firmly on the right side of “Sloopy” history, having voted 82-13 Wednesday to send it to the state senate.

“The goal of this legislation is simple: to have the Ohio law match the legend and to place the song … in its proper place within the Ohio Revised Code,” said Rep. Michael Stinziano, according to Kovac.  Stinziano is one of the bill’s primary co-sponsors.

Evidently Ohio’s Legislative Service Commission wants to make sure there isn’t any confusion about the song. Kovac notes that the commission’s analysis includes a line clarifying that the “song is not about the cartoon dog Snoopy.”